NFL Report Cards: Weeks 13-14


NFC North

  • Packers: The Packers are starting to turn things around. The new receiving corps is taking shape, but the division crown is out of reach at this point. However, the future in Green Bay could be brighter than expected. B+
  • Vikings: The Vikings are floundering. They aren’t as dominant as they usually are, though they’re still in a good position to take the division. But the problems on both defense and offensive line have already proven issues, and could spell doom once in the playoffs. B+
  • Bears: The Bears continue to disappoint. Despite his impressive rushing stats, Justin Fields remains limited as a passer and is generally unproven as a field general. The Bears have also been eliminated from the playoffs. C+
  • Lions: The Lions are not out of the playoff hunt yet, as Jared Goff is starting to mature and the long-awaited return of rookie Jameson Williams is now upon us. The Lions are starting to show that the future is bright in Detroit, and that decades of terrible play could finally be ending. A

NFC East

  • Giants: The Giants are starting to go down the drain. Tying with the Commanders and getting throttled by the Eagles show that the Giants were pretenders. While they still have a decent shot at the playoffs, a deep run is out of the question as the possibility of Daniel Jones being replaced resurfaces. D
  • Eagles: The Eagles remain elite. AJ Brown walked all over his former team (Titans) in week thirteen, and Philly officially punched its ticket to the playoffs the following week. Jalen Hurts remains an MVP candidate, while a deep playoff run seems to be a guarantee. A+
  • Commanders: Taylor Heinicke deserves to start somewhere in the league. He is single-handedly keeping the Commanders relevant in the NFC. As for the rest of the team, the defense is starting to regain its 2020 form, and Terry McLaurin remains underrated. However, any team owned by Dan Snyder is bound to fail, which will inevitably happen to this squad. B-
  • Cowboys: The Cowboys are confusing. They throttled the Colts in Week 13, only to barely beat the Texans the following game. Despite that, the Cowboys look set to make the playoffs. But these are the Cowboys, and we all know what the Cowboys do in the playoffs. (Hint: they lose in embarrassing fashion). B+

NFC South

  • Panthers: Baker Mayfield is officially gone, leaving the reins in Sam Darnold’s no-longer-mononucleotic hands. The Panthers clearly have more questions than answers, but are still a playoff contender in the weak NFC South. C
  • Falcons: The Falcons have finally moved on from Marcus Mariota, kicking off the start of the Desmond Ridder era. Ridder is still a mystery, but he has far more upside than Mariota, and could keep the Falcons in the playoff hunt. C-
  • Saints: The Saints officially have their first losing season since 2016. The quarterback question between Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston remains, while the defense remains solid. However, the Saints are a shell of their former selves, and the future appears full of difficult decisions. C
  • Buccaneers: The Buccaneers are borderline awful. Tom Brady is playing horrendously, while the receiving corps is undeutilized. The Buccaneers’ trajectory looks headed straight downhill, and might even miss the playoffs entirely. B-

NFC West

  • Cardinals: The Cardinals are terrible. Kyler Murray is effectively out for the rest of the year, while Colt McCoy and Trace McSorley probably won’t be able to win with the horrid playcalling Kliff Kingsbury loves so much. He should be fired within a year if the Cardinals want a shot at relevance. D
  • Rams: The Rams’ season is more or less over. While Baker Mayfield is playing well, the Cooper Kupp-less offense is probably not going to turn the season around. The Rams should look to the future rather than trying to salvage this season. B+
  • 49ers: The 49ers are going to win the NFC West. Nick Bosa looks like the frontrunner for DPOY, and despite Jimmy G’s injury, Brock Purdy can keep them above water until his return. The Niners are true contenders, which will likely be reflected in the playoffs.  A
  • Seahawks: The Seahawks are yet another questionable team. Geno Smith is playing at an elite level [Ed. Note—Now there’s a sentence no one expected to read in 2022], but the team isn’t winning games. The major problems are the defense and the run game, both of which need to be fixed in the offseason. But with the playoffs coming closer each week, the Seahawks need to make urgent adjustments. B-

AFC North

  • Bengals: Joe Burrow owns the Chiefs. The Bengals are likely to win the AFC North title, and could make a deep playoff run. While another shot at the Super Bowl is probably out of the question, the Bengals are a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. A
  • Browns: Deshaun Watson is officially back, and nothing really changed. In his return in Week 13 against the Texans he looked like he had never seen a football before, and that remained the case against the Bengals in Week 14. Watson will probably return to normal form eventually, but the Cleveland Clowns’ year is essentially over. C-
  • Steelers: The Steelers are irrelevant. The Kenny Pickett era is still going poorly, but he is starting to blossom into a solid starter. Will he return the Steelers to the Big Ben years any time soon? That’s for the fan to decide. C+
  • Ravens: The Ravens’ year is more or less over. Lamar Jackson is out for a few weeks, and solid backup Tyler Huntley is also hurt. The mediocre receiving corps is hurting this team, but that’s something to deal with in the offseason. C+

AFC East

  • Bills: The Bills are as dominant as was expected. They are still going to make the playoffs, but they should be wary of other AFC teams like the Dolphins and Bengals, which could pose a threat in the postseason. A-
  • Patriots: The Patriots are still in the playoff hunt despite their many flaws. Matt Patricia continues to put his job on the line, and the offense is simply unexciting. The Patriots probably won’t make the playoffs, but it will be a tight race right up to the end of the season. C+
  • Jets: The Jets are starting to revert to the form that they’ve mantained for the past decade. That form is quite literally disappointing. The roster is solid but the playcalling could be better, and it’s pretty clear by this point that the potential Cinderella story in New York won’t be happening this year. C
  • Dolphins: The Dolphins are better than their record shows. Tua is continuing to drop dimes to the best receiving duo in the league, and the play calling is solid. However, the gassed defense is struggling, which could spell doom once in the playoffs. A-

AFC South

  • Colts: The Jeff Saturday era is underway, and it’s not going well. Matt Ryan looks washed up, while the decent-at-best roster around him isn’t doing him any favors. The Colts are disappointing, and there’s not exactly a light at the end of the tunnel. C-
  • Titans: The Titans have returned to mediocrity. The roster should be solid, but it is proving ineffective against actual opponents, whether good or bad, which proves that the Titans are not real contenders. Mike Vrabel could end the year on the hot seat if things don’t change soon. C-
  • Jaguars: The Jaguars are confusing. They look terrible some weeks, then destroy the opposition in others. Doug Pederson is the right man for the job, but the team more often than not struggles to execute plays. The future in Jacksonville might be hazy, but haze requires light. C-
  • Texans: The Texans really have no future. The debate between Davis Mills and Kyle Allen, as well as the horrid offense and defense, lead to some of the worst football ever played in the twenty-first century. Lovie Smith seems to be having trouble gaining the trust of the team, which cannot be helping his case. C-

AFC West

  • Chiefs: The Chiefs are elite. Despite his inability to defeat Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes is once again shredding opponents like he has in years past. The Chiefs are punching their ticket to the playoffs, and a deep run is well within the realm of possibility. B+
  • Broncos: Broncos Country continues to ride—off cliffs, that is. Russell Wilson hit the bottom some time ago, and Nathaniel “Can’t” Hackett had started the year halfway down. Hackett has to go, and the offensive line and secondary need some work in order for Denver to be relevant again. B+
  • Raiders: The Raiders lost to Baker Mayfield. While Davante Adams is faring well in his new home, the team’s actual record remains stubbornly putrid. Also, frankly, losing to noted commercial spokesman Baker Mayfield at this stage in his career is just flat-out awful. D
  • Chargers: The Chargers are also confusing. They were expected to be contenders and possibly even attack and dethrone the Chiefs as gods of the division, but they are managing the interesting combination of struggling against bad teams and performing well against good ones. Justin Herbert’s extreme talents are honestly being wasted at this point, and if the mediocrity continues, Brandon Staley’s job could be on the line. C